Final Rule Relating to the Expansion of Organic Waste Source Separation Requirements for Various Commercial Entities

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose Food scraps and other organic waste make up more than one-third of all commercial waste in New York City. Diverting this material from landfills to use for soil-enhancing compost, or as an energy source in aerobic and anaerobic digesters, is a key component of the City’s goal of sending zero waste to landfills by the year 2030. Under Local Law 146 of 2013, codified in §16-306.1 of the New York City Administrative Code, the Sanitation Commissioner must evaluate, at least annually, whether there exists sufficient regional organics waste processing capacity to require that certain food-generating businesses in the City, or a subset of them, must engage in alternative methods for handling organic waste separated by the businesses. DSNY determined that there is currently sufficient organics processing capacity available to allow for an increase in food waste diversion, and will expand the existing requirement to additional large food-generating businesses in the city. These businesses will be required to separate their organic waste for collection and handling by their private carters, transport organic waste themselves, or manage it on-site using in-vessel composting or aerobic or anaerobic digestion systems (subject to compliance with the City’s sewer discharge regulations). A designated covered establishment may also donate food that would otherwise be thrown away to a third party, such as a charity, sell or donate the food to a farmer for feedstock, or sell or donate meat by-products to a rendering company, which converts animal fats into lard. Food disposed of through such donations or sales is not within the meaning of “organic waste” under this rule. DSNY carefully considered all comments received. As a result, this rule provides that the following types of establishments will be “designated covered establishments” and must comply with the source separation, storage, labelling and set out requirements for organic waste set forth under Section 1-11 of Title 16 of the Rules of the City of New York: 1) a food service establishment that has a floor area space of at least fifteen thousand square feet; 2) a food service establishment that is part of a chain of one hundred or more locations in the city of New York and that (i) operate under common ownership or control; (ii) are individually franchised outlets of a parent business; or (iii) do business under the same corporate name; and 3) a retail food store that has a floor area space of at least twenty-five thousand square feet. The rule allows for waivers from the requirements under certain circumstances. The rule also clarifies the term “floor area” of an establishment to have the same meaning as defined by the New York City Department of City Planning under Section 12-10 of Chapter 2 of Article 1 of the Zoning Resolution, which is the sum of the gross areas of the several floors of a building or buildings, measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the center lines of walls separating two buildings. The rule also amends the registration requirements for designated covered establishments that provide for a beneficial organic waste use on-site at their premises for some or all of the organic waste they generate. Such designated covered establishments would now have to renew annually their registration of any on-site organic waste processing equipment. Additionally, the term “sign”, as used in the rule, is clarified to include a decal provided to a designated covered establishment by the private carter that collects organic waste from such covered establishment, or a decal issued by the Department of Sanitation when the designated covered establishment manages organic waste on site at its premises. The area where employees undertake food preparation is also amended to read “employee work area”, but this area does not include break rooms or other areas where employees do not prepare food to be offered for sale by the establishment. DSNY’s authority for this rule is found in sections 753 and 1043 of the New York City Charter, and sections 16-306.1 of the New York City Administrative Code.